Sunday, August 30, 2009

SA Sunday: Tilcara, Jujuy, Argentina

Room with a view
View from the ruins, overlooking the valley

From the journal:
5 de julio, 2009 Hostel Terra Oculta, Salta City, Salta, Argentina
...The second stop on our journey was Tilcara, about an hour south of Humahuaca. It is a bit bigger and decidedly more touristy. Though our hostel was cheaper (a mere $25 pesos) the rest of the town was more expensive. We showed down some lovely fried empanadas and delicious treats from Mama Pacha, our new favorite shop in all of Argentina. Our first evening there we picnicked in the plaza with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, grilled flatbreads and pumpkin alfahores [how posh!]. It was very pleasant, though we were eventually frightened away by some wild and reproductively intact dogs...

Doesn't it scream "pet me!" ?
Cacti in the botanical garden

We flaked a little bit in Tilcara, opting not to do the recommended hikes because our potential guide was trying very hard to rip us off, and we didn't find him all that pleasant to begin with. We spent a couple of nights in the Pena right in the plaza where we saw the two groups you see pictured. We were aware that it was the tourist bar, but we made a couple of new friends there and thus kept going back. It was there that our trip really began. We forged a little community for ourselves in the three nights that we stayed and by the time we left we were able to walk through the town and greet people as if we lived there.

Rollin' in the dust
Alpaca cria rolling in the dust

We spent a morning in the Pucar√° Ruins, which are reconstructed pre-columbian ruins. We thought the fake pyramid at the top that was dedicated to the archeologists was pretty funny. We passed an hour or two in the attached botanical garden laughing at the alpaca cria and the "yerba buena" before wandering back into town...

and dance...
Dancing in circles

Awesome Decor at Hostel Tilcara
View of the kitchen decor at Hostel Tilcara (though you can't see the dried frog he had hanging in the window)

For more photos please visit my Flickr album: Jujuy
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Fiber Friday: Plans on a rainy day...

Joanne's Fellow Knitter Goodybag

Last year I made it my mission to knit every gift I gave for Christmas, and I succeeded (baaaaaarely). The only exception was the goodybag you see above which I sewed for my Aunt and filled with a pattern she wanted, some gorgeous Jitterbug, and a set of batching stitch markers that I made. I would have knit her something too, but she loves to knit as much as I do (and we knitters always like knitting goodies*)! Having set the bar so high last year, I feel like there's no way I can back down from the challenge this year! My list has been made (and way overly ambitious) since January, but I haven't gotten much done in the way of knitting yet.

I know that the Yarn Harlot has her own special friend who makes her knitting schedule for her every holiday season. I think I'm going to try! I'm sure you all think I'm crazy for thinking about these things now, but just you wait! Of course I'm not going to tell you what I'm planning, both so that it'll be a surprise for the giftees and so that when I fail miserably there isn't any proof, but let me just say that it involves sweaters (yes! plural!) and vests (also plural!) and fairy wings..and on and on. I know I might sound like I'm complaining but I swear I'm not. I LOVE giving handmade gifts, in fact I'll go out of my way to come up with an excuse to gift. Onward with the knitting!

How soon do you start planning for Christmas? Do you like to make your own? Is anyone willing to talk me off the ledge when I'm about to commit Christmas Eve Knitter Harikari with my double pointed #5's?

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*By the way, if anyone is wondering what to get me for Christmas, it's a box bag from Jess of Stitched by Jessalu! Just sayin'...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Starin' up the road and pray to God I see headlights...

Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show from their album O.C.M.S.

Folks, I'm learning to play the guitar. It seemed only natural that my brother teach me using some of the songs he first taught himself to play when he was a beginner. One of those songs that has remained a central part of our family sing-alongs is this fabulous song by Old Crow Medicine Show...and Bob Dylan. We've been singing this song for aaaages and I never realized that it was built around the chorus which was originally an unfinished song by Bob Dylan. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know, I looked it up around the seems to all be kosher) Ketch Secor of OCMS wrote the verses around Bob Dylan's original lyrics. According to Prariegal Bob Dylan also plays the completed song, though I can't find a clip of it. I'd love to hear it if anyone manages to source one out! Hopefully I'll manage to learn this song well enough that my family won't dread hearing it...that would be sad!

The video I've posted above is their official music video. It's not wildly innapropriate but there are a couple ladies dancing in their undies on stage outside the "gentlemen's tent" at a country fair. If this is likely to offend or upset you check out this video instead!

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

SA Sunday: Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

Burro in the town square
Burro in a plaza in town

From the journal:
5 de julio, 2009 Hostel Terra Oculta, Salta City, Salta, Argentina

...We flew into the city of Jujuy [on June 30] but were unimpressed and decided to move straight on up to Humahuaca. We enjoyed it there, though I did a shameful amount of shopping, It was a very small town nestled between mountains (as these northern towns are) that was remarkably cold at night in contrast to the desert heat during the day. I especially enjoyed our hostel, Posada del Sol, which was a fair ways out of town and very peaceful. We had a delicious breakfast there of breads and spreads and tea, served in beautiful red earthenware. Both nights we had lovely Irish roommates, the first a young man and the second two girls our own age [all heading up to Bolivia]. I felt at peace there for the first time in weeks. I think I could have stayed much longer...

Cool Darkness, Sweet Relief
Sweet relief from the sun in the tamale shop

The truth is that in Humahuaca there wasn't much to "do" once the gifts had been purchased and we had seen the noontime holy cuckoo clock. For that reason I wholly enjoyed it. We laughed at the sight of dogs running around on rooftops. We wandered around and stared in awe at the views which were unlike anything I had ever seen before, having never left the east coast of the United States. We sat in the square and ate mandarinas, four for a peso, while identifying new birds for my list. We went to bed early, and got up early, a routine which was strange to me, but came naturally during those days. One afternoon we took a walk up to a mirador, a look-out point, that we had been told about. Though we had no idea where we were going we were joined by a dog who never left our sight the entire walk up and down. We ate some tamales and sampled the traditional "locro", a stew that I can't honestly recommend, as it is very greasy and gave us both indigestion.

In this manner we passed two nights in the small town of Humahuaca before catching a 4peso bus to Tilcara...

King of the Mountain
King of the Mountain, our walking friend

Hillside worship
Mountain Worship

For more photos please visit my Flickr album: Jujuy
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Friday, August 14, 2009

FO: Bariloche or Bust - Ears, Project Spectrum: South

Project Spectrum: Bariloche or Bust - Ears, FO, originally uploaded by Soasa Designs.

We now (hopefully) return to our regularly scheduled program. It's been a whirlwind ever since I got home! Sorry for the huge gaps in posting. I hope to be back on track now.

Pattern: My own
Size: CO 15st, knit to fit
Materials: 60-70 yds Yanabey Lana Mecha
Needles: #9, 5.5mm
Start Date: June 29, 2009
Finish Date: July 1, 2009
On Ravelry

Project Spectrum: Bariloche or Bust - Ears, FO

This was my project for the July/August period of Project Spectrum. During July and August we focused on the South. I thought it was perfect timing for my trip through Argentina, as we finished our trip in Patagonia. We were also focusing on the color red and the element of fire, which I tried to incorporate in my use of a clay bead, and of course my color choice. My goal was to finish this in time for the south of Argentina where we anticipated it would be very cold. I ended up finishing it on the second night of our trip, up north in the desert. It was freezing cold at night there! Who would have thought?

All bundled up
Tilcara, Northern Argentina*

I couldn’t find a headband pattern that was exactly what I wanted, so I made this one up! It’s a simple 3x3 rib that I reversed every three rows to make it look like a weave. The decorative button is made of clay, while the two functional buttons are bits of branches.

San Martin de los Andes, Southern Argentina*

As you can see I've already gotten a lot of use and enjoyment from it!

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*Thanks to Ashely, my friend and traveling companion, for the photos.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

28 days, 1200 photos

I'm working on it...

I was hoping to have my photos sorted out by the time I got home, but the reality of the situation is that I took HUNDREDS. They all need a little tweaking and a lot of them just need to be deleted, but I have to be careful with them because they represent my Great Adventure and I don't want to lose or ruin any! That's my WIP for this week. I'm planning to spread things out and post a new location each Sunday so that you can travel with me.

I cooked our first meal in our new apartment last night! I made pesto with basil from my Mom's garden. It came out pretty well! We have a gas stove, which was just one of the many added perks of this place. Justin did a great job finding it. Once this is posted I'm going to head out to the backyard and hula hoop with the chickens and goats!

Finally, I just wanted to give a little cheer for myself as this is my 200th post!

Image borrowed from The Market Guardian

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Monday, August 3, 2009

...Just another clown throwing fire at the sky...

This is a very special Music Monday! It's my first post from home! That's right, the trip has ended and I am back in New York. I would say the adventure has ended, but I have begun so many new friendships and I have changed so much that I know that Argentina is not done with me.

A Juggler Out in Traffic - Richard Shindell, from his album Not Far Now

This song is a special one. Shindell's music has always struck me but I feel a closeness with those songs he writes from his experiences in Argentina. On my last day in the city I was running errands and walking through my old neighborhood, remembering. I came to an intersection and found two young men juggling pins in front of traffic. They finished their routine and I was happy to see the number of hands reaching out of car windows to offer change. I smiled, remembering this song. Two blocks later I came across another juggler who seemed to just be learning. He finished his routine too late, and the light turned before he could pass his hat. It occurred to me that there is an art to what they do, beyond their talent. On my way home I took the Subte and to my delight my favorite group of street actors just happened to be in my car. I gave them a smile and one last token. They don't know how much they light up my day, how much people appreciate the relief and amusement that they offer to the city.

I am thrilled to be home, and there were times that I felt strong resentment towards Buenos Aires but I am finding that all I can remember are the good things. I'm grateful for this song as a moment to recall the city I called home for those short but powerful five months.

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